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(ISLAMABAD PID)The strategic relationship between Pakistan and China is a source of strength for us and it is contributing towards regional peace and stability, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said while talking to Mr. Wang Chao, Assistant Minister of Commerce and Trade of China who called on him here at the Prime Minister's house this afternoon.

The Chinese Minister is currently visiting Pakistan along with a 40- member delegation, representing 16 Chinese companies to look for opportunities to expand economic cooperation and investment in Pakistan.

The Prime Minister said that Pakistan and China enjoy a broad-based relationship as the two countries are actively cooperating in political, diplomatic, social, economic and defence fields.   Pakistan accords high priority to its close relations with China and is keen to expand these it in all sectors.

The Prime Minister said that Pakistan considers China 's economic growth and tremendous transformation as a great model of growth, peace and prosperity. It is a source of pride and strength for the developing world and especially Pakistan, he added.

Talking of economic cooperation, the Prime Minister said the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China has a strategic importance for Pakistan. This FTA, he said, has economic and political significance .It will open new avenues to enhance trade between Pakistan and China which will further strengthen the bilateral ties, he added.

"Pakistan-China Free Trade Agreement has translated the historic relations between Pakistan and China into tangible economic cooperation to the advantage of Pakistan ", the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister said while the government is facilitating trade between Pakistan and China , the private sectors of the two countries need to make efforts to tap the potential of enhanced trade prospects.

The Prime Minister emphasized the need to increase the frequency of airline flights between Pakistan and China .

The Chinese Minister expressed keenness to increase economic relations with Pakistan and said the Chinese government has earmarked an amount of  US $ 200 million for import of goods from Pakistan which is likely to exceed further.

He said China is particularly interested in buying cotton yarn & fabric, chromium ore, agricultural products, granite, guar gum, marble and leather products from Pakistan.

He said Chinese imports from Pakistan have doubled during the last few years and presently Chinese projects worth US $ 40 billion are at various stages of implementation.  Gwadar Port , Chashma nuclear power project, Sandak project serve as role models, he added.

Mr. Wang Chao while appreciating economic development and high growth in Pakistan said the economic stability has created increased opportunities for Chinese investment in Pakistan.

He said China wants to expand Hair-Ruba Special Economic Zone since it is encouraging Chinese companies to invest in this Zone.

Mr. Wang Chao said China attaches high importance to its relations with Pakistan which have stood test of time and it is heartening to note that the leadership of the two countries is making efforts to increase bilateral, political, social and economic relations between Pakistan and China.

Mr. Wang Chao thanked the Pakistan government for providing security to Chinese nationals and facilitating them in every possible way.

The meeting was attended by the Chinese Ambassador in Pakistan Mr. Luo Chaohui and senior officials.



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